The COVID-19 pandemic has struck the Sahel and West Africa at a time when the region is already under severe pressure from violent insecurity and the effects of climate change on its land, food and water resources.
By the end of April, there had been 9,513 confirmed coronavirus cases across the 17 countries of the region, and some 231 deaths, with the highest overall numbers recorded in Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Niger and Burkina Faso. Low testing rates mean than these numbers give only a partial picture.
The Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) forecast in early April that almost 17 million people in the Sahel and West Africa (7.1… Seguir leyendo »
President Paul Biya issued his annual message to mark Cameroon’s annual youth day on Wednesday. In a break from the usual platitudes, he made a heartfelt appeal for young people in the two English-speaking regions, Southwest and Northwest, where government forces and Anglophone separatists have engaged in increasingly brutal violence and reprisals since 2016, to lay down their weapons and return to community life.
He also made a vigorous defence of new decentralization laws that, he claimed, represent ‘a genuine peaceful revolution that respond to the desire of our fellow citizens to participate more fully in the management of local affairs’.… Seguir leyendo »
There is no doubt that Brussels policymakers and many European leaders recognize the need to move the EU’s relationship with Africa away from the ‘traditional’ donor–recipient dynamic, towards a genuinely fresh and respectful relationship. The two continents are close neighbours, with many shared interests and shared problems. Forging such a new partnership was the emphasis in the run up to the African Union-European Union summit, held in Côte d’Ivoire on 29–30 November.
The European Parliament invited a wide range of Africans to a pre-summit conference in Brussels. However, at a parallel pre-summit gathering in Abidjan, African concerns were manifest: that, even as it talks of partnership, the EU continues to set the agenda, often fails to consult its African partners and remains stuck in a post-colonial mentality.… Seguir leyendo »
Last week, seven African and European leaders met in Paris to discuss means of reducing illegal migration from North Africa to Europe. They face significant challenges: during the first seven months of this year 115,109 migrants succeeded in crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in search of a better life.
For Europe, the political task of managing the arrival of these newcomers is considerable. Nationalist populism – turbocharged by voter concern over migration remains a powerful force. Yet, the scaremongering over the size of refugee flows obscures a broader picture of migration in West Africa and the Sahel, driven by long-term development-centred challenges.… Seguir leyendo »
Gabon’s model of political moderation and gradualist reform may have just imploded. Without external mediation, a full audit of polling station results and a hitherto absent readiness to compromise on the part of President Ali Bongo Ondimba and his main challenger, Jean Ping, the country risks being condemned to months or even years of unstable and sullen post-election stalemate.
Mild though the crisis appears by the standards of more authoritarian or conflict-torn neighbours, it is disastrously damaging for Bongo’s long-held ambition of transforming himself from dynastic heir into freely-elected architect of modernization and reform. After seven years trying to mark his country out from the fiefdoms of central Africa’s strongmen, he now risks cantoning himself into the category of presidents whose hold on office depends on power rather than consent.… Seguir leyendo »
After Ouagadougou, wherever next? For the second time in two months, foreigners and locals have been slaughtered in a West African city hotel by a clutch of jihadi gunmen. On 20 November 2015, the target was the upscale Radisson Blu in Bamako, Mali. On Friday, it was the turn of the Splendid Hotel and the nearby Cappuccino cafe in the heart of Burkina Faso’s capital.
Both attacks have been claimed by Al-Mourabitoun, an Al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group founded by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, an Algerian commander, who first came to international notoriety after an assault and hostage seizure at the In Amenas gas processing plant in Algeria in January 2013.… Seguir leyendo »